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Fantasy take on Richardson blockbuster

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Colts shocked the NFL world Wednesday when they traded a first-round pick in 2014 to the Browns for running back Trent Richardson. And they're going to waste little time in showing off their new toy.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Richardson will play in Week 3 at San Francisco despite little practice time or preparation to learn the new playbook. The Colts plan to give Richardson "as much as he can handle," according to Pagano.

"We didn't bring him in to be the water boy," Pagano said.

We like that Pagano is being bullish about Richardson, but you have to be a little skeptical about his workload against the 49ers. He didn't arrive in Indianapolis until Thursday and the Colts should already have a game plan in place featuring Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown.

It won't be difficult for Richardson to learn the rushing plays, but it's doubtful the Colts will trust him to protect Andrew Luck in passing situations. Bradshaw will probably remain on the field when the Colts are throwing and Indianapolis could be playing from behind against a motivated 49ers team coming off an embarrassing loss to Seattle.

It's also a tough matchup against the 49ers defense, so you should be cautious with Richardson this week. He should be considered a flex option at best depending on your roster -- his best days definitely lie ahead.

The move to Indianapolis should allow Richardson to be a top 10 Fantasy running back after a slow start. Through two games, Richardson has struggled with just 31 carries for 105 yards and seven catches for 51 yards. Those numbers should skyrocket, starting in Week 4 at Jacksonville when Richardson will be up to speed with his new team.

The trade obviously crushed Bradshaw's Fantasy value, and you shouldn't start him against the 49ers. Just when things were starting to look up after Vick Ballard (knee) went down, Bradshaw is now relegated to reserve duty behind Richardson. He will still play a role, but he's not going to start for Fantasy owners any time soon.

We wouldn't cut Bradshaw just yet because Richardson has struggled with injuries to start his career. Even though he missed just one game as a rookie in 2012, he's already had knee surgery, played through broken ribs and dealt with a shin injury this preseason.

If there's someone out there you need and Bradshaw is the only one to drop then do it, but don't discard him on a whim. He could still be the third-down back for the Colts, which would give him some value in PPR leagues.

One move we would condone is dropping Bradshaw for Willis McGahee, who will replace Richardson in Cleveland. You'd be getting a starter for a reserve -- even if McGahee's outlook is murky with the Browns.

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The last time we saw McGahee was Week 11 last year for the Broncos when he broke his leg. Prior to going down, McGahee had 167 carries for 731 yards and four touchdowns and 26 catches for 221 yards, and he had at least eight Fantasy points in five of the nine full games he appeared in. The Broncos decided to cut him this offseason after drafting rookie Montee Ball.

McGahee only got a recent tryout with the Giants after Week 1 and his best days are clearly behind him. He'll be 32 in October, but CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora reported in August that McGahee was in "great shape."

He could end up paying off for Fantasy owners as a potential flex option, but don't go overboard in trying to acquire him in most standard leagues. He's not going to save your season, especially if Richardson struggles for the Browns.

The earliest we'll likely see McGahee is Week 4 against the Bengals since he's not expected to play in Week 3 at Minnesota. Even if he does you shouldn't consider using him in the majority of leagues.

In the meantime, look for the Browns to go with Bobby Rainey and Chris Ogbonnaya against the Vikings. So far this season, Ogbonnaya has no carries and three catches for 34 yards. He was a reserve in 2012 with eight carries for 30 yards and 24 catches for 187 yards. But in 2011, Ogbonnaya started four games and finished the season with 73 carries for 334 yards and a touchdown and 23 catches for 165 yards. Rainey, who spent 2012 on the practice squad for the Ravens, has yet to touch the ball this year or in the NFL.

Rainey will likely handle rushing duties with Ogbonnaya playing on passing downs. Since Cleveland will likely be trailing at Minnesota, we give Ogbonnaya the edge this week. Long-term, these two running backs have minimal value unless McGahee gets hurt.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg .

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Player News
Reggie Bush says he doesn't plan to retire
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TMZ reporters confronted Bush outside a Beverly Hills restaurant and asked if Bush, who turns 30 on Monday, was going to quit football. Bush responded with, "No." 

Bush rushed for 297 yards and two touchdowns last season. 


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(6:06 pm ET) The Cowboys will let RB DeMarco Murray test the free-agent market, according to a report from Fox Sports Southwest

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Murray rushed for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. 


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The team has been trying to negotiate a long-term contract with Bryant, a free-agent to be. If a deal can't be made by Monday's franchise tag deadline, the Cowboys will use the tag to keep Bryant a Cowboy. 

"I still think that (it) would be a stretch to think that we would have something done by Monday and beat the franchise-tag deadline," Cowboys VP Stephen Jones told Fox. "Looks like we're eyeing a franchise tag on Dez, but certainly won't stop us from working hard to get a long-term deal. ... We just don't want to lose his rights."

Bryant had 88 catches for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. 


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With incentives related to playing time and playoff berths, McCown could earn $20 million over the course of the deal.

McCown will earn $6.25 million in fully guaranteed money, with $5.25 million of it coming in the first year of the deal.


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(3:18 pm ET) Panthers DE Greg Hardy is scheduled to become a free agent on March 10. He missed most of last season while appealing his conviction for domestic violence. 

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Texans' Brian Cushing has had three offseason surgeries
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:15 pm ET) Texans LB Brian Cushing has had three surgeries since the end of the season. 

In a public appearance on Saturday, Cushing told the Houston Chronicle's John McClain that he's had surgery on his broken right wrist as well as arthroscopic procedures on his left knee and left ankle. 

"It’s not uncommon for stuff like that to happen," he said of the two arthroscopic surgeries. "It’s just little things here and there, the residual effects of two major surgeries and injuries, the wear and tear of playing throughout the season. There were still some things bothering me a little bit. Just went in there and had real good success in both areas."

Cushing has a cast on his wrist. “It’s coming along real well,” he said. “I’m going to start working out a little bit. From a pain standpoint, there’s really nothing going on there. I’m real happy about that. I’m real happy to get the cast off and start doing some physical therapy on it, and I don’t have to worry about it anymore."


Report: 49ers to release wide receiver Steve Johnson
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:34 am ET) The 49ers are expected to release wide receiver Steve Johnson, according to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington D.C.

The move will reportedly save the team $5.5 million in cap space. Johnson had 35 catches for 435 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games last season.


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"I'm excited about it," Ridley told Sirius XM Radio Friday. "As a player coming into the league, you get there and your first contract you kind of have to establish yourself and see what you can do. Everybody is a good player if you get to make it to the NFL, but there is something to be said if you get to that second contract."

Ridley has rushed for 2,817 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first four seasons in the league with the Patriots.

"Where I'll be playing, and who I'll be playing for, is still unknown, but I know I've come in and done my job up to this point and now I have to put it in my agent's hands to get me on another team, or stay where I'm at, and make sure I’m in pads playing ball somewhere next year. I know if you think about it too much it will worry you sick."

Ridley has played in 20 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons, starting in just 11 of them.

"I take it personal to any team or anybody that says I can't be a very productive player on whatever team I land on," he said. "I've been playing ball my whole life, I'm going to come in and be a leader, and I'm going to be a guy that comes in and busts his butt in the weight room and busts his butt on the field. I'm a good teammate, I have fun with my guys, but when the lights come on Sundays, it's all business and I plan on going out there and making plays."


Patriots' Aaron Dobson doing well in rehab of hamstring injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson is still recovering from a hamstring injury that ended his season in 2014. Trainer Brett Fischer said Friday he thinks Dobson is going to turn heads when he heads back to Foxboro for training camp, according to the Boston Herald.

"He was talking about, 'When I go up there (to Foxboro) and they see me again, I want to make sure they know I'm in the best shape of my life.' He is really determined," Fischer said. "That is the underlying theme every day: 'Hey, I've got to be ready when April comes, be ready as far as the best shape of my life.' It's frustrating with two years of freaky-type stuff."

Dobson finished a disappointing 2014 season with three catches for 38 yards.

"He is doing great," Fischer said. "I'm really excited for him. He has put the time and effort into it, comes in early, gets all his work in and he is hungry. There are a few specific things we found, minor little things we're working on, that make his program a little bit unique to everybody else's. Nothing major."


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(2/27/2015) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas turned down a five-year, $40 million contract for a reason. That's because it's believed he will have a "very active market" when the new league year begins on March 10, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. 

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The Falcons have also reportedly been interested, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. 

Injuries slowed what was an otherwise fast start to his 2014 season. Thomas' season ended with 489 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


 
 
 
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